The 86th Texas Legislature passed a number of bills related to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and its programs. Many of these new laws are slated to become effective on September 1, 2019, while a few were made effective immediately. A few are to take effect in early 2020. To review the full list of recently enacted legislation, visit the Agency’s page on TDLR-related bills here.
Some of the new laws are specific to one of the 40 programs the TDLR administers. While a number of the new laws are applicable to the TDLR itself, and as such affect the administration of every program.
Defaulting on Student Loans & Professional Licensure
Senate Bill 37 prohibits Texas licensing agencies from denying, suspending, or revoking an occupational license based on a person’s default on a student loan.
The Senate Committee Report Bill Analysis reasoned that laws barring professional license holders from licensure if they default on student loan payments have been counterproductive. The Bill Analysis went on to state, “such policies not only threaten a person’s employment and financial security, but also inhibit his or her ability to repay the student loan debt.”
SB 37 was signed by Governor Abbott on June 7, 2019 and become effective immediately. Defaulting on student loan payments no longer results in denial of a professional license.
TDLR Complaint Review Process
The TDLR investigates over 12,000 complaints every year, many of which require technical and specific program knowledge to fully understand and properly resolve complaints. Texas House Bill 2452 seeks to address this issue by authorizing TDLR to contract with a qualified individual to provide complaint review services. Under HB 2452, the TDLR is able to hire third-party investigators and experts to help resolve complex complaints against its licensees.
HB 2452 was signed by Governor Abbott on May 29, 2019 and become effective immediately.
Consequences of a Criminal Conviction on TDLR License Eligibility
The legislature considered concerns raised in regard to the barriers to occupational license eligibility faced by Texans who have been convicted of an offense within five years of license application, regardless of whether the offense is related to the occupation. House Bill 1342 seeks to enhance the opportunities to obtain gainful employment for these individuals.
Under HB 1342, the TDLR cannot deny, revoke, or suspend a license based on a criminal conviction that does not directly relate to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation and that was committed less than five years before the date the person applies for the license. This new law seeks to enhance the opportunities to obtain gainful employment for certain individuals and requires the licensing agency to consider whether any criminal conviction correlates to the duties and responsibilities of the license sought.
HB 1342 becomes effective on September 1, 2019.
Experienced Professional License Defense Attorneys
If you are facing a licensing issue or someone has filed a complaint against you with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or another licensing agency in Texas, BERTOLINO LLP can help.
We are experienced professional license defense attorneys. Our firm believes that immediately consulting an experienced professional license defense attorney to review allegations of misconduct helps ensure the most favorable outcome in your case. Our results speak for themselves.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 and schedule a case evaluation.
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